Staying on top of regular fluid changes is one of the best ways to extend the life of your vehicle and prevent premature wear and tear. We provide a variety of automotive fluid changes in Summerville, SC to keep your vehicle running at its best.
Engine oil is the most important fluid in your vehicle because it keeps the moving components of your engine moving smoothly. Engine oil levels should be kept near the maximum indicator. When oil levels drop to the minimum level, more oil should be added immediately.
You can easily check the level of your engine oil by opening your hood and locating the dipstick. Pull the dipstick out when the car is cool and wipe off the oil off the end with a towel. Insert the dipstick back into the tube, pushing it all the way in. When you pull the dipstick out again, check both sides to see the indicator on the oil level.
It isn't just the level of motor oil in your engine that matters -- this oil isn't designed to last very long. Over time, it will break down and it will not be able to provide protection and lubrication to your engine. Without lubrication, moving joints in the engine rub against each other and cause premature wear. If the oil isn't changed frequently enough, it also develops a build-up of particles that settle and corrode.
Over time, sludge will also occur as the old oil solidifies or gels in the engine. This sludge will continue to build up and prevent the oil from flowing through the engine. Oil starvation can cause bearings, crankshafts, camshafts, and other components of your valve train to become damaged. It's even possible for the damage to become serious enough to require an engine rebuild or replacement.
Regular oil changes are an essential form of maintenance to keep your engine running properly and for as long as possible. If you get in the habit of skipping needed oil changes, your vehicle's performance and fuel economy may suffer in addition to potential long-term and costly damage. Dirty engine oil increases friction in the engine, which means it must burn more fuel and run hotter. A simple oil change can sometimes immediately boost engine performance and fuel economy.
How often the engine oil should be changed depends on the age of your car and the manufacturer's recommendations. The old adage of "3,000 miles or every 6 months" no longer applies. The general rule is every 5,000 miles for regular or synthetic blend motor oil and every 10,000 miles for full synthetic motor oil.
An oil change involves draining your old engine oil and replacing it with new synthetic blend or full synthetic oil. An oil change will also include oil filter replacement. As the oil travels through the engine, it picks up debris like metal shavings from wear and tear. This oil eventually cycles through the oil filter which collects this debris to prevent wear to the engine.
Transmission fluid keeps your car's gears running properly. Unlike engine oil, transmission oil is in a closed system and should never get low, although it does get old. Low transmission fluid indicates a leak somewhere in the system that needs to be fixed. Instead of looking at volume, it's important to check the quality of your transmission fluid. This fluid should be red and not have a burnt odor. If the fluid smells burnt or turns brown, it needs to be replaced.
Different vehicles need different types of transmission fluid. Some transmissions require regular maintenance with new transmission fluid and a filter starting at 60,000 miles then every 30,000 miles. Some newer transmissions are considered a "lifetime fill" and can go to 150,000 miles between transmission oil changes. Some automatic transmissions also have filters that should be replaced or cleaned when you change the transmission fluid.
Coolant or antifreeze is often overlooked, but it's essential to change old coolant before it can damage your car. Coolant protects your engine from freezing while removing heat from the engine. Antifreeze should have an neutral pH of 7 but this pH changes when the coolant gets old. Your coolant should be tested occasionally to make sure it's still good. Over time, coolant will become more acidic and stop fighting rust. This can cause corrosion on the water pump, radiator, cooling system, heater system, and more. It can also cause the engine to overheat.
Most late-model cars require a coolant change around 100,000 miles, but older cars require more frequent changes. Some manufacturers even recommend coolant changes after the first 60,000 miles then every 30,000 miles.
Most modern cars today have upgrading steering systems that make it easier to maneuver. Most power steering has a hydraulic system that uses pressurized fluid although some cars use electric steering. You may not see a power steering flush listed on your car's routine maintenance schedule but periodic flushing can remove sludge and grit from the system that can damage your gear and pump.
Modern brakes are hydraulic and use fluid to connect the brakes to the pedals. When you step on the brake pedal, a plunger will pressurize brake fluid in the lines to cause the brake pads to clamp down. This should happen instantly. If there's a delay or the brake pedal feels off, it can be caused by contaminated brake fluid.
Brake fluid contains chemicals that stop the fluid from boiling due to the intense heat of hot brakes and absorb moisture. Over time, this fluid can become contaminated by moisture that rusts the brake lines and causes leaks. These leaks cause poor brake performance or a spongy feel to the pedal.
Some manufacturers include brake fluid changing in the maintenance schedule. For most vehicles, the brake fluid should be flushed every 2 years unless recommended otherwise by your manufacturer. Most Chevrolet vehicles, for example, can go 10 years or 150,000 miles without flushing the brake fluid.
Here's a general rule of thumb for scheduling regular fluid changes:
Oil: For most vehicles, synthetic blend oil should be changed every 5,000 miles. Full synthetic oil should be changed every 10,000 miles.
Transmission fluid: Varies. Usually every 30,000 miles for older vehicles but some newer vehicles can reach 150,000 miles
Coolant: Usually at 100,000 miles
Power steering fluid: Every 3 years or 30,000 miles
Brake fluid: Every 2 years
If it’s about time for your car to have an oil change, or you want to have your other fluids checked, topped off or flushed, come to Edwards Automotive! We’ll help you maintain your car and keep it in top condition with our excellent auto maintenance services.